Growing Your Firm With Quality; Not Quantity
Industry standards paint a clear picture about trendy things we should be doing to garner exposure for our firms and achieve a competent level of brand awareness. From direct mailers, online ads, networking events to the latest trinkets and everything in-between; the industry has not fallen short in options when it comes to maximizing firm exposure. With over a decade in the industry there is not much I haven’t seen with the exception of a sustainable model for highlighting quality prospects and clientele. There is a large distinction between brand exposure for brand awareness and brand exposure for longitudinal relationship growth with qualified investors. Within my wheelhouse, I have grown my firm exponentially by doing a few simple things that are a bit “against the grain” of what modern marketing tactics and strategies would have you believe.
First and foremost, remember you are seeking to create a relationship with folks who already have apprehension due to industry smearing from things like Ponzi schemes, market volatility, and not being exposed to the proper balance of risk vs. reward. That is a tough place to begin any relationship hence why creating an authentic relationship that is not rooted in a quid-pro-quo dialogue is essential. The thing about choosing your clients is that you have to know exactly what you are looking for in your clients. What do I mean? When most advisors first start out they are hungry and willing to do “whatever it takes” to establish a relationship with a qualified prospect. The challenge is that the filter they are applying is convoluted with their own internal motives for growth, success, and achieving a goal. The reality is that this approach is what the majority of professionals in our industry do and why there is such a challenge with getting qualified clients just as much as there is a challenge with maintaining quality clients.
In maturing my firm to target solely high net worth individuals I have come to the following three conclusions that I know every financial advisor can benefit from:
- Treat every single prospect interaction as a personal test. An opportunity for them to test you and you to test yourself with how much value you can create with them. The key with creating a sustainable relationship is to genuinely get to know one another at an authentic level. That means stripping away anything you seek to gain from them on a monetary level and focus on what you can gain from them on a relationship level. Advisor-Client relationships are a marriage and should be treated as such with the same time, respect, patience and understanding.
- Stop spending money on cold marketing. This runs against traditional approaches but is something I want you to consider as I turned this valve off many years ago. When you are in the business of relationship management (which all of us are), the best thing for you to do is to cultivate and nurture the relationships you already have. Every one of your best clients has an immense network of like-minded professionals that would love to have a conversation with you. When you bring value to a client relationship on a regular basis, they are more than happy to voluntarily connect you with their network. As the old saying goes, “referrals are the best complement you can ever receive”, make it easy for your trusted networks to refer you.
- Serve Smarter Not Harder. Look, there absolutely is such a things as “trying too hard” when creating and sustaining relationships. You have to remove the pressure. You have to remove this idea of “what a big opportunity this prospect could be” and focus on what sort of strategic and mutually beneficial relationship can you cultivate with this person? Sometimes, it is not a win-win and that is okay. Selectively saying “no” to new opportunities is a sign of grounded awareness when you confidently know what fits with the person you are and the person you are seeking to serve. Quality clients do not want their valuable time wasted so make their time with you worthwhile as quality clients will reciprocate the sentiment.
The art and science that is investing in quality as opposed to quantity is not complicated. But, it does take time, lots of time, which many folks seem to not create enough of these days. Instead of throwing dollars down the drain with cold marketing campaigns and traditional marketing avenues, make it a priority to create time for connection and reconnection with your clientele and professional partners. Pouring into them will lead to them pouring into you, and that, is how sustainable and longitudinal relationships are maintained and grown.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.